Sometime last year I began filming all the movies on DailyTekk’s YouTube channel in 4K. That’s actually a pretty profound statement for you because 4K content is proliferating. At the same time that 4K TV prices are already becoming very affordable, 4K cameras are getting cheaper as well: to the point that even YouTubers are making videos in Ultra-High Definition (UHD). That’s great news because the 4K ecosystem is really coming together — there is more and more UHD content available everyday (obliterating one reason so many people have decided not to upgrade their TV to 4K yet) and 4K TV prices are no longer out of reach.
Frankly, when I began researching for this article I wasn’t sure there would be any decent 4K TV options under $500 (much less under $1,000). I was incredibly surprised, to say the least, to discover some 4K TVs on Amazon for under $300! Now you have to understand that this budget segment of 4K TVs isn’t seeing major competition from big brands you know (and perhaps trust) like Philips, LG, Panasonic, Sony or Sharp, for instance, but that’s alright. Those are the companies that are making the best of the best TVs — you know, the ones you probably can’t afford if you’re reading this article. But there are at least two familiar manufacturers with an entry or two in this price range: Samsung and Vizio.
So what are some of the tradeoffs of buying a sub $500 4K TV vs one that costs over $1,000? Well in order to get the price down so low, you’re not going to see any specialty features. For instance, on a more expensive Samsung 4K TV you’ll find features like a curved screen, advanced Smart TV features, more vibrant colors, UHD dimming for greater picture clarity, UHD upscaling, depth enhancement, glare minimization, a faster processor for snappier performance and, of course, a better, “cooler”, remote. But if all you want is that 4K picture, there’s no reason why you can’t be happy with a much more affordable budget 4K TV (like those I’ve listed below).
Seiki SE42UMS 42-Inch 4K Ultra HD LED TV
The Seiki SE42UMS is a 42″ 4K TV that only costs $329.99 (marked down from $899.99). It’s not a Smart TV, but it will upscale non-UHD content to 4K, which is great. And if you upgrade the firmware, you’ll be able to connect this TV to your PC or even use it as a gaming TV. And, for your peace of mind, this TV also comes with a 1 year warranty. The specs are insanely awesome, by any means, but they are workable considering the price (a 60 Hz refresh rate, for instance).
Hisense 50H7GB2 50-Inch 4K Smart LED TV
The Hisense 50H7GB2 is a 50-inch 4K TV that comes in just under $500 at $498 (with free shipping through Amazon!). Compared to the Seiki TV above, and some of the other TVs listed here, you’ll get way more in terms of features and functionality. You’ll get a 120 Hz refresh rate, apps (this this is a Smart TV), better sound and a bigger screen. If you can afford it, this is a great buy.
Vizio D40U-D1 D-Series 40″ Class Ultra HD Full-Array LED Smart TV
The Vizio D40U-D1 is an excellent TV in terms of quality and features — it’s just too bad the screen is 10″ smaller than the Hisense listed above. Aside from the apps (Smart TV functionality) and a brand name you recognize, one thing you’ll love about this TV is the 12 Active LED Zones which brighten or darken the screen to provide brighter highlights and deeper blacks (in other words the screen dynamically adjusts frame by frame to show the best possible picture). This is by far the highest rated TV out of those listed here and if you want to be sure you have no regrets with your purchase, this is probably the safest buy on this page.
Sceptre U435CV-U 43″ 4K Ultra HD 2160p 60Hz LED HDTV
Now here’s another ultra-cheap Ultra-High Definition 4K TV: the Sceptre U435CV-U which only costs $$285.50. This is a bare-bones TV set to say the least but I’ve seen at least one rave review about this TV (although there was a complaint about the remote being too minimal and having some volume control issues). At under $300, this is the cheapest 4K TV on this list and I might as well say it just because: you get what you pay for.
Samsung UN40JU6100 40-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart 110-240 Volt LED TV
For $499 you can get a brand-name 4K TV: the Samsung UN40JU6100 — but there’s a catch. This TV is the Latin version (as in built for Latin America). I’m not 100% sure what all that entails or means, but if it doesn’t bother you or you are feeling adventurous, it might be a GREAT deal as this TV features better specs than both the Sceptre and Seiki TVs listed above (120MCR refresh rate, for example).